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3-Class Basketball System To Be Explored

By Staff | Mar 25, 2016

There hasn’t been a 3-class system for North Dakota basketball in over 40 years.

But that could potentially change.

At a meeting last week in Minot, the chairs of all* 16 districts in the state voted by a 14-2 vote to allow the North Dakota High School Activities Association to explore the possibility of a 3-class system.

The request for consideration was presented by Watford City High School Athletic Director and District 15 Chairman Randy Cranston. No plans are on the table yet, but NDHSAA Board of Directors will begin exploring the switch to a 3-class system from the current 2-class system at its June meeting.

In Region 6, District 11 Chairman Larry Sandy and District 12 Chairman Lyall Krueger both voted in favor of the NDHSAA looking into a 3-class system.

“I think it is overdue,” Krueger said. “We have four classes in football and only two in other sports. Is there a perfect plan? Probably not, but I hope they [the NDHSAA] come up with a good plan for three classes and the schools of North Dakota to vote for it and try it. We are so afraid of change and it’s time for us to change.”

Sandy said: “There are a number of ideas about what this should look like, and it is going to be a topic that gets a lot of feedback. It is too early in the process-especially without a specific proposal with all the details-to know if one is in favor or against such a plan.”

According to the HDHSAA website, a 3-class system existed from 1948 to 1963, with a Class C comprised of small and, after the 1950 season, consolidated schools. In 1963, a vote was taken by all member schools to go back to a 2-class system.

NDHSAA Executive Director Matthew Fetsch said that since then, proposals to go back to a 3-class system have been nothing new.

“There have been a number of 3-class proposals since the state went from three classes to two back in 1963-64,” Fetsch said in an email. “Obviously, none of them have passed through a membership vote or at the Board of Directors level.”

In 2009, a system with AA, A and B classes was defeated by a 7-3 NDHSAA board vote. A survey of member schools earlier that year found 87 opposed and 76 supported the plan. In 2008, a straw poll of member schools showed 78 against and 55 in favor. In 2005 a 3-class plan was rejected by member schools, 120-49.

District 11 is made up of teams from Bottineau, Drake-Anamoose, Nedrose, Rugby, Sawyer, Velva and Towner-Granville-Upham high schools. District 12 is made up of teams from Bishop Ryan, Our Redeemer’s, Des Lacs-Burlington, Glenburn, Lewis & Clark-Berthold, Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood, Surrey and South Prairie high schools.

– Tribune Staff Report


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